Q. Should I use unfinished or prefinished hardwood?
A. It is actually personal preference. They both have advantages. For example, if you want to match the existing woodwork, you may wish to go with unfinished so it can be stained to blend woodwork. However, prefinished is already finished with some great benefits: longer finish warranties, uniform stain application, and a cleaner environment.
Q. After my floors are installed, should I apply a finish coat to seal them from moisture getting down in the cracks?
A. Most floors expand and contract with temperature fluctuations; expanding in the summer, contracting in the winter, throughout their life. Therefore, sealing of the joints will only last until the first heating or cooling season
Be sure and remove any existing base, shoe, or other moldings which may be present. Under cut any existing door casings as required with jamsaw or handsaw.
Nail all flooring at right angles to joists.
Be sure and leave 3/4" expansion joint around edge of room for seasonal expansion and contraction.
Be sure and rack the floor so as to space end joints properly so that no two joints are within 6" of joints on adjoining rows.
Use proper spacing of nails. Have at least two nails per board. Space nails every 10" - 12". Do not place any nails within 4" of the end of a board. Position as many nails as possible in floor joists.
Hand nail on top the first two rows of boards after laying your chalkline out from your starting wall. Predrill holes and remember to countersink the 8d and 10d hardened nails you use to nail these rows.
Be sure to lay first course groove side to starting wall.
A. Yes, however, it is not recommended. Once you wax a floor, it should be maintained as a wax-finished floor. Wax may inhibit the adhesion of future application of top coating materials or make it slippery.
Don't Damp Mop - Water and wood floors don't mix! Use only the manufacturer's recommended cleaning products on your hardwood floor.
Vacuum Regularly - Small stones, mud and gritty dirt tracked in from outside can play havoc on the wood floors finish. To help combat this use long bristle welcome mats placed at all outside entrances for people to wipe their feet on before entering onto the floors. Also, vacuum using a soft bristle brush attachment.
Use the Proper Chair Glides - Narrow wheels, sharp wooden legs or metal furniture legs can scratch and dent hardwood floors. Any furniture that rests directly on top of a hardwood floor should have felt protectors, or furniture coasters under all it's feet. For extremely heavy objects such as a piano, use wide, non-staining rubber cups. Purchasing floor protectors is cheap insurance for protecting your hardwood floor investment.
Protect from Direct Sunlight - your wood floor may change color or fade due to exposure to direct sunlight. The sun's UV rays accelerates the oxidation and aging of wood so periodically rearranging your furniture and closing the curtains during intense periods of sunlight can help avoid the problem.
Don't Use Oil Soaps - There are many over the counter oil-based soaps and wax based cleaning products that may damage or dull the finish of your wood floor. The best suggestion is to only use the manufacturers recommended cleaning products on your hardwood flooring.
Never Wax a Urethane Wood Finish - If your hardwood floor has a polyurethane finish never use a paste wax on the floor's surface. A paste wax may form a sticky film on your floor and allow tracked in dirt to stick to your wood finish. Polyurethane finishes will not adhere to any wax and adding a fresh coat of polyurethane to your floor will be very difficult.
Trim Pet's Claws - Pet's claws may scratch you floors finish. Regularly trim dog's claws to help reduce scratching your floor's finish.
Wipe Spills Immediately - when accidents happen and some liquid gets spilled on your hardwood floor, you should use a slightly damp white cloth, or paper towel to immediately clean up and dry the effected area. For more difficult spots, follow the manufacturer's recommended cleaning procedures.